The Feldenkrais Method® is “a form of somatic (body) education that uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning.”

My contemplative photography practice includes becoming more aware of what we’re feeling in our body; how our body responds to the world around us. I wanted to learn more. Luckily, I discovered a wonderful Feldenkrais teacher right here in Niagara, Fariya Doctor. I met her for a one on one session and then signed up for her series of mindful movement classes.

I’ve just touched the surface of discovering the benefits of practicing this method. However, I’m sure that becoming aware of the subtle ways we move and realizing that we have a choice to move differently can only be good. Becoming more aware of the body leads to greater awareness all around.

Feldenkrais and the Eyes

 
One aspect of Feldenkrais that is particularly intriguing to me is that of eye movement. For all of us lucky enough to have two working eyes, vision is central to our lives (and particularly so for photographers). Could Feldenkrais exercises help improve vision?

We resign ourselves to the fact that eyesight naturally degrades as we age. And, it does. But, we can take a more proactive role in taking care of our eyes and studies show (see the Bates Method) that we can improve our vision.

Last week, Fariya Doctor offered a Feldenkrais class on getting to know the eyes. We practiced sensing the movement of our eyes. We exercised our eyes and gave them a rest too. By the end of the class, I felt as though my eyes had received a relaxing massage. I was seeing more with less effort.

Can these mindful movement exercises help us to bring greater awareness to the world around us? I think so.

 

“Sometimes life is more enjoyable when situations and people are first met with a soft, broad gaze.” ~ Ilona Fried, Roll Your Eyes, Change Your World

Here are a few more resources if you’re interested in learning more.

* In this article, The Importance of your Eyes to your Whole Body, you can try eye exercises on your own.

* Eye Palming for Clear Vision and Deep Relaxation – a video with Annie Thoe

* The Feldenkrais Method Website

* A book by Jack Heggie – The Use of the Eyes in Movement – combines the theory and practice of “Awareness Through Movement”® with the vision improvement of Dr. William Bates through 13 “Awareness Through Movement” vision exercises.
 

Fariya Doctor will be doing another class on the eyes immediately before my visual journalling workshop at LOCOL in Virgil, Ontario on Thursday, April 20th at 1 p.m. Come to one or both.

 

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